The history of the St Andrew Society of Western Australia


For 85 years, the St Andrew Society of WA has been proudly helping to maintain Scottish culture in the state.

When the society was formed in 1938, its specific purpose was to celebrate St Andrew’s Day – Scotland’s National Day. In those days, the celebration was a male-only affair, for which members gathered to enjoy a black-tie dinner and were joined by a list of distinguished guests that regularly included the Governor of Western Australia, the State Premier and Perth’s Lord Mayor.

With membership of the Australian armed forces represented by so many Scots, the society’s membership lists from those days contained a fair scattering of Major-Generals, Air Commodores, Lieutenant Colonels and other senior military officers.

The society experienced a major change in the 1980s, when women were allowed to become members for the first time. This resulted in the principal annual celebration changing from a dinner to the St Andrew’s Ball that we continue to hold to this day, on the closest Saturday to 30 November – St Andrew’s Day.

Thereafter, the society added a Burns Night supper, ceilidhs and other social events to the annual calendar, at all of which our national forms of dancing, singing and entertainment have remained the order of the day.

At the annual general meeting each year, the society elects a committee to organise the events and affairs for the coming year. The senior office bearers on the committee are the Chieftain, Vice Chieftain, Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer.

Chieftains of the St Andrew Society of Western Australia since its foundation in 1938 :-

Year(s)Chieftains Name
2024 -Carol Smith
2021 - 2023Reggie McNeill
2020D.P.R. Melville, JP, Esq.
2017-2020R.J.M. Paxman, Esq.
2014-16D.P.R. Melville, JP, Esq.
2012-13B. McMurdo Esq.
2011K.A Suttie, Esq
2010A.W.C. Milligan, Esq
2005-09K.A Suttie, Esq
2004D.B. Melville, Esq.
2003J.L. Ramsay, Esq.
2002Prof. A. German
2000-01K.A Suttie, Esq
1998-99Dr. D. Cameron
1996-97Prof. A. German
1994-95Assoc. Prof. D. Yorke
1992-93T. McAlister, Esq.
1991J.L. Ramsay, Esq.
1989-90Mrs. J. Campbell
1986-88A.M. Ross, Esq.
1984-85A.H. Hill, Esq.
1981-83J.W. Williamson, Esq.
1980G.A. Fielding, Esq.
1978-79J.R. Dunbar-Smith, Esq.
1977D.J. Gow, Esq.
1976D.H. Manson, Esq.
1975N.H. Baird, Esq.
1974W.A. Purnell, Esq.
1973P.R. Manson, Esq.
1972J. MacMurchie, Esq.
1971I.R. Sinclair, Esq.
1970D. Manson, Esq.
1969H.S. Wheeler, Esq.
1968E.I. Paddick, Esq.
1967W.S. Lonnie, Esq.
1966W.G. Robertson, Esq.
1965K. McDougall, Esq.
1964J.H. Heatley, Esq.
1963J.F. Christie, Esq.
1962J. Gow, Esq.
1961A.R.V. Mackay, Esq.
1960Dr. R. Robinson
1959Justice Sir John Virtue, KBE
1958Dr. H. Illingworth
1957W.A.M. Green, Esq. CMG.
1956Dr. A.G.S. Wallace
1955A.J. Reid, Esq.
1954N.G. Humphries, Esq.
1953A.F.C. McKechnie, Esq.
1952P. Butterworth, Esq.
1951D.W. Brisbane, Esq. CBE.
1950W.L. Wilson, Esq.
1949J. Chappel, Esq.
1948S. Johnson, Esq.
1947F.E. Gibson, Esq.
1946H.L. Brisbane, Esq.
1945W. Christie, Esq.
1944H.J. Craig, Esq.
1940-42Prof. R.G. Cameron
1939Prof. A.D. Ross, CBE.
1938R.R. McDonald, Esq.